“Now what you hear is not a test / I’m rappin’ to the beat
And me, the groove and my friends / We’re gonna try to move your feet”
- Sugar Hill Gang, “Rapper’s Delight”
This week, the fourth Bakemongatari opening theme, “Renai Circulation,” has been released to the joy of fandom worldwide. In case you forgot how it goes:
It’s terribly catchy.
For a bishoujo anime song, “Renai Circulation” has a surprising amount of straight rap. It feels almost as if the bizarre rap-rock interlude from K-ON!’s “Fuwa Fuwa Time” was just testing the waters for this, the ultimate moe rap. Still, the pop chorus and Hanazawa Kana’s sugar-sweet voice almost disguise the fact that this IS hip-hop. It’s not “Fuck Tha Police,” obviously, but it’s a foray into realms seldom explored by anime music, let alone music for this sort of anime.
But are we seeing history? Is this the first time it’s happened? Actually, no, it isn’t. Even before Lucky Star‘s famous opening, “Motteke! Sailor Fuku” in 2007 (Edit: Thank you, zzeroparticle!), during the first season of Ichigo Mashimaro in 2005, the character CD for Matsuoka Miu featured a song called “Stroll Concerto,” in which seiyuu Orikasa Fumiko reveals a remarkable talent for MCing in the East Coast style. Give it a listen:
Brilliant, isn’t it? I love it.
I know that this is basically manufactured music. The really sad thing is that neither of these seiyuus will see a dime of royalties from these songs; profits all go to corporate, which doesn’t really befit rap’s original purpose as grass-roots street poetry. But as far as diversity goes, it’s interesting. Many anime fans I know avoid popular music, and now here they are listening to the anime equivalent of “Rapper’s Delight.” Who knew it would be so darn cute?